Chevrolet Volt Sales In March Up 190%, Re-Takes US Sales Lead From Nissan LEAF

1 year ago by Jay Cole 40

Next Generation Chevy Volt Destroyed Year-Ago Numbers From Older Model In March

Next Generation Chevy Volt Destroyed Year-Ago Numbers From Older Model In March

March was the first full month of availability for the 2017 Chevrolet Volt, which replaces the CARB-state limited 2016 edition.

...must be that 5th seat in the back helping sales

…must be that 5th seat in the back helping sales

And despite more than a few regional hole in inventory, General Motors sold 1,865 copies of the next generation Volt in March, good for a 192% improvement over the anemic 639 sold in 2015 (as the original edition suffered from recently being made obsolete).

With March’s result, the Chevrolet Volt also once again becomes the all-time best selling plug-in for the US, passing the Nissan LEAF.

The all-time tally stands at 92,737 for the Volt to 92,522 for the LEAF.

As we noted last month, General Motors has done an incredible job of not only selling, but stock the 2017 edition of the Volt, a car that just entered production on February 1st of this year.

During the month, GM averaged about ~2,500 available copies of the 2017 model on dealer lots, while still selling down remaining 2016s and older generation models; originally we had thought it would take closer to the end of April to achieve the inventory status the company already enjoys.

Also of interest: Cadillac moved 104 ELRs, a slight gain (13%) from the 92 sold a year ago, while the Spark EV surged to 252 sales – a 2016 high, and up some 67% from a year ago.

The 2017 Chevrolet Volt Making The North American Auto Show Rounds In March

The 2017 Chevrolet Volt Making The North American Auto Show Rounds In March

Separately this month with the Chevy Volt and General Motors:

2016 Volt Inflator Kit (Image Via Consumer Reports)

2016 Volt Inflator Kit (Image Via Consumer Reports)

*- the Volt picked up another award, this time the “Green Machine of the Year” (still sounds made up to us)

*- the first pre-production Chevrolet Bolt EV ran down the line in Orion Michigan – watch some Bolt EVs getting made here

*- if you own a new Volt, check in the trunk to see if GM remembered to give you your tire inflater kit, as the company put out a service bulletin saying they forgot to do so on some production cars

*- Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet marketing, says GM has changed the way it markets the Volt, and will be more successful than in the past

 

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40 responses to "Chevrolet Volt Sales In March Up 190%, Re-Takes US Sales Lead From Nissan LEAF"

  1. Ash09 says:

    Outstanding news. Hopefully the new Volt has more sales and acceptance to the public.

    1. Bubby Valentino says:

      Can not get a Volt in Louisiana. I have leased two and my dealer can’t get Chevy to respond to my order for a 2017. Really disappointing. What’s the deal?

      1. Bonaire says:

        Find a new dealer.

  2. ziv says:

    Very cool, Jay! I know some people don’t like to hear about the sales race between the Leaf and the Volt in the US, but I think it is pretty cool how close the two cars have been 5 long years in! It looks like the Volt is going to have several months of good sales and will pull away from the Leaf until the Gen II Leaf shows up. But the new Leaf will need 200+ miles of AER to be a success. We will see.

    1. CBonville says:

      I do wonder if Leaf, and all other sub-150 mile AER BEVs, are going to suffer depressed sales now that Model 3 is announced and taking reservations. Model 3 and Bolt may have substantially disrupted the BEV market, forcing manufactures to either cut pricing significantly or increase battery size significantly ASAP.

      1. Ziv says:

        That is a good point. Early adopters will probably look closely at the Bolt in large part due to the fact that III production is going to go Signature Series at first and be limited to Californians that own a Tesla S or X, at least for the first couple months.
        But the III looks to be a VERY nice car, and if they can hit anywhere close to $35k for a base model it will be a huge hit.

        1. Get Real says:

          There will be not Signature Series for the Model 3.

          1. Rennie Allen says:

            It’s important to note that very few people (or none) on the model3 waiting list will qualify for the tax credit, since Tesla will almost certainly have hit their 200,000 tax credit sales limit by the fall of 2017 (if they haven’t then they’re in big trouble.

            1. Brian says:

              Not sure if you are aware, but the tax credit doesn’t immediately stop at 200,000. For the quarter that a manufacturer hits 200,000, and the quarter following, buyers get the full credit, after that, it goes to half (3750) for 2 quarters, then 1/4 (1875) for 2 quarters. So if the Model 3 gets going as scheduled (i know thats a big IF) then there’s a good chance of a lot of people still getting the full credit, or at least a lot of partials.

  3. James says:

    Not bad considering:

    A)1st gen sales tanked for this time last year.

    B)Very meager advertising campaign compared to gen 1

    Still, if GM sells less than 2,000/mo there is no way the automaker can call Volt a sales success. Thus, it retains it’s place in the company has a green halo product.

    Question is – is this what they intended? With throttling back distribution of the 2016 to 11 states, and the somewhat mild promotion of the vehicle ( magazine ads I’ve seen are in auto magazines and science/popular mechanics type publications. )including two TV spots I’ve seen, one saying Prius was old tech, and the elevator one comparing Volt vs. EVs range anxiety by getting stuck. I find both of these TV spots to be pretty sad, and not effective.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      Hi James,

      The article states, “And despite more than a few regional hole in inventory…”

      I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic that numbers will continue to increase. I hope I’m right, it sure is an amazing car in so many ways!

      1. Larry says:

        Sadly I live in one of those holes – no dealer within 150 miles has one. My local dealer refused to even consider ordering one and said it would probably be 2017 before they would!

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          Sounds like GM still has a dealer problem. If I were GM I would tell dealers like that their franchise rights will be sold to someone else and they can close up shop.

    2. kdawg says:

      James – “Still, if GM sells less than 2,000/mo there is no way the automaker can call Volt a sales success. Thus, it retains it’s place in the company has a green halo product.”
      ———
      So what’s the magic #? Because at 2000/mo, the Volt would outsell 1/2 of the cars on the market. Are all those other cars also “halos”?

      1. James says:

        At 50,000/yr, Volt reaches the intitial estimates GM made of gen 1. That would be a victory, and surely 60,000/yr would give GM reason to design gen 3 as it could reasonably be called a profit maker for the company. Prius sells 100,000/yr even with low gas prices – without even breathing hard…And even the fugly gen 4 Prius is a franchise and floats on it’s name alone.

        With it’s R&D costs and price of batteries, Volt needs volume sales to turn a nice profit for the company. Since GM is playing the tax credit game right now, this isn’t as big an issue as it will become in about 1 year.

  4. David Murray says:

    As far as plug-in car sales are concerned.. I guess this number is “good” but this car really deserves to be selling 5,000 per month.

    1. Ziv says:

      I agree, David, but $33k for a compact Chevy is a tough sell. Once they actually drive the car, most people realize it is no ordinary Chevy, but getting potential buyers to drive to a Chevy dealer takes some doing.

      1. ffbj says:

        Contrast that with the willingness to stand in line for hours in inclement weather just to put an order down on a Model III.

        So I agree. No one really wants to go visit a legacy car company showroom, too much of a hassle. Annoying, uninformed, unmotivated, sales people.
        (Except they want to sell you a car and that is it).

        An example, unrelated to GM, was when I called Nissan concerning a promotion which was all over the internet and even on the local news, specific to my area.

        The sales people had no clue what I was talking about. Sad, they were not even aware of their own Leaf promotion.

    2. But, but, but, you can’t wish anything good for THE ULTIMATE EVIL GM!!!!!!111111

  5. Get Real says:

    I still for the life of me can’t figure out why GM is so stupid for not putting their excellent Voltec system into SUVs.

    They could OWN this market if they were not so lame in this regard.

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      I think they want the tech to be at a point where they can make a 40 mile Voltec SUV.

      Which is there/almost there with the Volt.

      In other words, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see one in late 2017.

      1. ClarksonCote says:

        To clarify my own ambiguous statement, the new 470 mile range (53 mile all-electric) EPA-rated Gen 2 Volt has a battery that is close to achieving a 40-mile all-electric range for a Volt-like SUV.

      2. Scramjett says:

        I hope you’re right. It would be nice if GM surprised us in January like they did with the Bolt last year. It’s not exactly a secret that Tesla wants to complement the Model 3 with a similarly priced/sized SUV/CUV based on the 3 platform, the so-called Model Y. If GM is as afraid of Tesla as both Elon and (former GM VP) Bob Lutz claim, they should be working on some sort of plug-in SUV.

        1. Phr3d says:

          Humbly offer and confirmed by GM if memory serves, you cannot get the target min AER from a larger vehicle – if you want CUV-like utility and can live with the Bolt size-shape, Then batteries can do the whole job. If you want escape size and enuf batteries for 30+ AER -and- a fossil that can charge them quickly enough while still providing even Decent/ok MPG – it cannot be done, yet. CARB enters in here, don’t forget, ‘Better’ don’t mean much if you can’t hit ‘the numbers’ dictated.
          CARB (and us, if we’re honest) don’t impress much with a 20 AER, 35mpg fat-ass -if it’s plugged in regularly- CUV or bigger. CARB want ’em to go away with the dinosaurs that fuel ’em. No current way ’round those physics, or I think we’d see something like the Mitsu / Volvo Everywhere. As lousy as the BMW X5 is in the AER regard, they can at least charge a ton for it, so THEY can make it.. (time will tell if that puny 4 can take the extreme load) GM? noPhargnway, heheh.

  6. 500 miles says:

    Stupidity is a convenient scapegoat. It’s anti-marketing against BEVs. The established car maker have yet to attack the market on with true competition.
    I mean REALLY compete with affordable mass marketed well advertised long range BEVs that they ALL prove they can build 15 years ago.
    They are still thinking they can delay the BEV revolution much longer as they did in the two last year with “awkward” announcements, and tiny improvements, flattening the adoption curve from exponential that it should now look like IF there was true competition among them. Tesla is way ahead now, but they could hit very hard with their mass market power if they wished to.

  7. Freshwood says:

    Yesterday Tesla took orders for 150,000+ cars that may not be available for another year. Today GM should have fired anybody involved with the marketing of the Volt.

    1. Larry says:

      Probably won’t be available for nearly two years and probably three for people at the end of the line.

      1. Prad Bitt says:

        Even more astonishing!

    2. Brian says:

      You’re assuming that GM is paying anyone to market the Volt… On every GM or Chevy advertisement I see, not once has a Volt been included with the “rest of the family”, and the only time i’ve seen any commercials are when i saw links to youtube from this website or other EV sites.

      If they have anyone marketing the Volt, they should be fired for sleeping on the job!

  8. Scramjett says:

    I am a happy contributor to GM’s March sales statistic! 🙂

    1. Neromanceres says:

      Well I bought a 2017 Volt this month as well. However mine is not in this sales number as I am in Canada. And Canada hit 246 Volts sold this March a new all time record!

  9. telveer says:

    GO Chevy. If we had a more educated population, Volts would be flying off shelves!

  10. Bill Howland says:

    I don’t understand why people completely dismiss the volt.

    IT isn’t even available nationwide yet but it is once again the most popular Electric Vehicle.

    Staunch BEV’ers who Hate the volt ignore the increased all electric range, and also that many Upper-Class BEV owners also have their own “Wasted” ICE that provides Emergency Generator power, and must be run and maintained for an eventuality that may never actually happen.

    At least with the Volt and Elr, there is some very practical utility realized from the car.

    Another point is that some of the poorer folks may not be able to afford more than one car, and an economical BEV isn’t in the cards for them since even on an emergency basis they must drive further than the battery range.

    You cannot rent a car during emergencies.

    Since the Volt is such a great value, I’d expect even larger sales rates once it is available nationwide.

  11. James says:

    Volt sales may well outpace demand as people see them in the wild. They are still so rare in nearly every state but California that the magic tipping point when people see it and say, “THAT’S a VOLT?!” – won’t happen for some time to come.

    Example: Gen 2 Prius. Gen 1 Prii were very odd little weird cars that didn’t resonate AT ALL in the USA or Canada. Sales were poor – and then gen 2 arrived and it was over eight months to 1 year in the Pacific NW where I live and you barely saw one on busy highways. Then, suddenly – BAM! They started popping up left and right. Toyota had clever advertising, lots of TV media, and once they were out on roads, they created buzz. Nobody knew what a hybrid was unless you were like us – car guys. But Toyota stocked them aplenty at dealers too. 4 years in for gen 2 Prius and BAM again! – The gas crisis. When unleaded regular went up to $4.00 here, dealers had 4 – 5 month waiting lists for Prius. News outlets reported a new Prius factory being built and they soon sold the 1,000,000th Prii.

    If/WHEN gas goes up and up – Volt sales will jump big. Thing is – GM seeming the relunctant parent of this innovative problem-solver car for a large portion of us.

    The gen 3 Volt could learn lessons from Tesla design. They managed to fit big seating capacity into a car not much larger than Volt without an ugly roofline. With an ICE under the hood, that could prove impossible. That said, there’s lots of room for improvement with Volt – most notably, rear seating comfort and room for 5.

  12. James says:

    Example 2: Hyundai Elantra. Previous to gen 2 Elantra, the car was a ubiquitous little 3 box econo sedan. Nearly invisible in the mass of available econoboxes and from a not as reliable brand name that literally survived on pushing their car’s bigger warranty.

    Along came the new Elantra with it’s swoopy, risky design with lot’s of character lines. I remember not paying much attention to Hyundai or KIA as a car guy. One day I see a new Elantra parked by the side of the road and it’s shape caught my eye. I said to myself, “Hey, that’s a sharp looking little car!”…Evidently, I was not alone, as soon – hundreds of them were whowing up all over. That generation never did overtake Corolla in the marketplace, but out of nowhere, it was rivaling Ford Focus, Nissan Sentra and Chevy Cruze in sales each month. Carmakers take notice of such things. Good asthetics sell cars.

    Volt is a very contemporary, eye-catching, while not being “too weird”, design. Just by it’s sporty stance, it should garner a lot of attention. That leads to car sales.

    The innovative, gas-saving nature of the beast will clinch the sale for many who become curious enough to study the details.

    Still, without smart marketing and dealer support, the Volt could languish.

  13. jose says:

    Gm needs to have the car available in all 50 states in order to see better sales numbers. Probably they’ll do it know that the new Testa model 3 is out and they see that people are interested on EV’s in big numbers.

  14. ClarksonCote says:

    It would be really cool if the Gen 2 Volt was the first plug-in to break 4000 sales in a month.

    Maybe that will happen once nationwide inventory is fully stocked. 😉

    1. Phr3d says:

      watch next month, May at the latest – millenials Like the car, we await a ‘generous’ lease rate from GM.. when the $249/mo Volt hits (and dealers are required to be Aware of it, LOL)
      Look
      Out

  15. Speculawyer says:

    Congrats, GM . . . the new Volt deserves to be selling at least twice that many!

  16. Spider-Dan says:

    I’m hoping this is an inventory/availability issue. I’m puzzled how two cars that cost $90K can each move ~twice as many units as the Volt. I know the S and X are great cars, among the best in their class, but so is the Volt.

    I’ve always thought that badging is an issue that can be overcome, but the Volt should be crushing PHEVs and ICE hybrids, and it still isn’t. Maybe GM is hoping that re-sold off-lease Gen1s will convert the masses, but I’m not sure there are even enough of those for that strategy to work.

    I was pretty certain that the Gen2 Volt would outsell Tesla this year, but that’s looking very unlikely. I guess we’ll see.